Isaiah Chapter 26 - The City of God, the Resurrection, and the Rapture
In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: "We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in." (Isaiah 26:1-2)
While Isaiah chapter 25 spoke to the judgement that God will bring upon an evil and unbelieving world, chapter 26 speaks of three promises of God to His people
Note: "His people" are all people of faith, Jew and Gentile...
"…just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham." (Galatians 3:6-7)
The City of God If you think about it, the earth has never known a true "city of God." We could point to Jerusalem in King David and Solomon's day, or Constantinople, or Vatican City, however these cities could never claim to be perfect and without sin. Even if a godly king were on the throne, somewhere in the city sin would be found.
But Isaiah 26 speaks of the future city of God, Jerusalem, that will be ruled by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who will rule in perfect righteousness! Revelation 21 describes this city:
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. (Revelation 21:22-27)
In this city will be perfect peace, the mind of God, trust (vs 3), everlasting strength (vs 4), uprightness and justness (vs 7).
But, what is a city without inhabitants? Who will be the inhabitants of this "City of God?" Isaiah 26 tells us...
Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. (Isaiah 26:19)
The Old Testament had a shadowy understanding of the life to come. There were only glimpses of the future promise of resurrection. King David spoke of it after his son by Bathsheba died (2 Samuel 12:23), the prophet Daniel spoke of it (Daniel 12:2), and here Isaiah proclaims it! Paul told the Corinthian church:
And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. (i Corinthians 15:19 NLT)
But resurrection isn't the only end-times doctrine that Isaiah reveals, he also speaks of the rapture:
Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain. (Isaiah 26:20-21)
This is a time when God's people are carried away and securely hidden, from the judgment that the LORD brings upon the earth. This could be the deliverance of the Jewish people from the fury of the Antichrist described (Revelation 12:6 and 12:13-16), but remember that Paul clearly taught in Galatians that all who trust in Christ are God's people, spiritual children of Abraham.
In Mathew 24:37 Jesus spoke of the Tribulation being "as it was in the days of Noah." What happened in the days of Noah? God placed Noah and his family in the ark, protecting them from the flood. Noah and his family were above the flood, safe and secure.
Saints, that's were we'll be when the great judgment of God is poured out upon this earth - safe and secure above the destruction.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)